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Friday, 11 November 1910

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - That is so, but I do not believe that it need cost anything. If it does, it will be because of maladministration. To-day there is a clamour on the part of a large section of Victorians that the establishment of the Federal Capital should be delayed in every way possible. .1 have been in the forefront of the fight against Yass-Canberra, but I say that if those Victorians who voted for the Constitution, knowing of the existence of this provision, now desire to shirk their responsibility, it is most unfair to Victorian representatives in the Federal Parliament to ask them to do any such thing. I, as one who puts Australia first, refuse to be a party to anything of the sort. I do not believe that the mass of the people of Victoria will be influenced by this clamour, though they are under the impression that the best site in the interests of Australia has not been selected, and that the methods adopted for its selection were not too clean. I strongly object to the misrepresentation of the position, and I am determined that those who gave a vote to change the Capital site from Dalgety to Yass-Canberra at the beck of a Government, and for party purposes, shall not make this a party question to-day. I do not believe that the bulk of the citizens of Victoria are parochialists in any sense. They have, in this matter, put up a strenuous fight, in which I have joined them, in the interests not of this State, but of Australia. They have expressed an opinion on the matter on two occasions, and my regret is that the decision at first arrived at was altered, not merely by the action of politicians in another State, and I say this in justice to them, but by the treacherous action of some of the politicians of Victoria, who, now, for petty reasons, wish to further delay the settlement of this great National question. I give ray full support to this Bill, and from this time on it shall be my honest endeavour to see that the city erected on the site selected for the Federal Capital shall be made worthy of the Commonwealth, leaving the responsibility for the selection upon the shoulders of those who should bear it.

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